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Most difficult IE Language?

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Merv
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 Message 17 of 69
25 June 2010 at 12:34am | IP Logged 
6 vs. 7 cases does not matter as much as the dual number. Dual number means that in Slovenian both dual nouns
and their corresponding adjectives will have their own set of declensions, and that verbs dealing with dual subjects
will have their own set of conjugations.

Also the pitch accent of Slovene is something not present in many other Indo-European languages (the only other
major ones are Serbian/Croatian, Lithuanian, Swedish, Norwegian, and Punjabi).
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Iversen
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 Message 18 of 69
25 June 2010 at 1:06am | IP Logged 
I can't say anything about Indian languages because I haven't tried to learn them. But among those I have tried so far I think that Irish is the weirdest one - and also problematic because of the low number of speakers with the resultant lack of things to read. Russian comes in at the second place: it is like a huge machine where thousands of small wheels have to run smoothly. Icelandic is about the same level as German, but has far fewer resources, so it comes in at the third place - even though I have an advantage as speaker of another Nordic language.

If you only look at the spelling and its ties to the actual pronunciation, then Irish is again the most complicated language I know, but English comes in as a close runner-up. If I hadn't learnt English for so many years I would see that spelling as an affront to humanity.


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ellasevia
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 Message 19 of 69
25 June 2010 at 1:39am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
I can't say anything about Indian languages because I haven't tried to learn them. But among those I have tried so far I think that Irish is the weirdest one - and also problematic because of the low number of speakers with the resultant lack of things to read. Russian comes in at the second place: it is like a huge machine where thousands of small wheels have to run smoothly. Icelandic is about the same level as German, but has far fewer resources, so it comes in at the third place - even though I have an advantage as speaker of another Nordic language.

If you only look at the spelling and its ties to the actual pronunciation, then Irish is again the most complicated language I know, but English comes in as a close runner-up. If I hadn't learnt English for so many years I would see that spelling as an affront to humanity.


Iversen, where would you say Greek comes in on that scale? I recall reading one of your posts from a year or two ago where you said that you thought that Greek was much harder than Russian (or something to that effect). Do you still think this?
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Iversen
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 Message 20 of 69
25 June 2010 at 2:03am | IP Logged 
My honest, but maybe surprising opinion is that Modern Greek is fairly easy (if I ever have written the opposite I have changed my mind).

Its morphology has not only been reduced since the antiquity, but also become quite logical in the process. There is one weird point in the syntax, namely the loss of the infintive which forces the Greeks to use subordinate phrases instead -but the principles behind these constructions are also quite logical.

The spelling looks fiendish because of the alphabet - but that can be learnt in a few hours. With the latest spelling reform three accents were reduced to one, and two completely silent aspirations were kicked out. The reformers just forgot one irritating detail: the many ways of writing certain vowels. One thing which may be difficult for learners is the position of the accent, which can be surprising in some cases. In the beginning I just followed one golden rule: the accent would never be where I expected it to be. But at least it is always marked in polysyllabic words.

As far I can see the ancient stages of Greek are much more complicated to learn. But I have left those for later.


Edited by Iversen on 25 June 2010 at 2:05am

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Captain Haddock
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 Message 21 of 69
25 June 2010 at 2:47am | IP Logged 
Although the OP specified living languages, I think Ancient Greek is the hardest language I've tried learning.
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ennime
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 Message 22 of 69
25 June 2010 at 10:54am | IP Logged 
chucknorrisman wrote:
Juаn wrote:
Probably Sanskrit. But if we regard lack of
material as an integral part of difficulty, any number of other ones would be "harder".

edit: oops, I just say you asked for the hardest living language, though again in
my opinion any language that is studied, read and written is very much alive.


Sanskrit is actually alive too; there are 14,135 native speakers in India.


yeah and due to needing words for the modern era... the sanskrit word for physics is
actually literally "idiot science" ^_^
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liddytime
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 Message 23 of 69
25 June 2010 at 1:55pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
My honest, but maybe surprising opinion is that Modern Greek is fairly easy (if I ever have written
the opposite I have changed my mind).


I would totally agree. There are so many cognates with English and roots of English words that many times you can
figure out a Greek word without ever seeing it before. eg: pedia = child, yiatros = doctor = pediatrician. zestos =
hot = "zesty". etc.etc....

I'm still sticking with Albanian for the most difficult! :-)
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patuco
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 Message 24 of 69
25 June 2010 at 2:20pm | IP Logged 
ennime wrote:
the sanskrit word for physics is actually literally "idiot science" ^_^

As in "you're an idiot for learning it" or does it mean something else?


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